I am a frequent lurker on this forum but am finally posting.
I was recently considering buying a property close to Harrow-on-the-hill and was wondering how crowded the met line trains are on the southbound. I would board between 7 30 and 8 15 most days. Secondly, is their a difference between the all stations and the fast / semifast services ? Finally, are switches at finchley road seamless or do you have to let jubilee trains go sometimes ?
There was no way for me to figure this out (outside of actually experimenting on the route a few mornings) so I thought it would be best to get some data from this forum
According to TfL's Rolling Origin and Destination Survey (2016) available on the transparency part of their website, these are the AM Peak total train loads at Harrow On The Hill Southbound (all stopping patterns Fast, Semi-fast or Slow and all destinations) by 15 minute period:
Dividing the above by the number of trains in the 15 minute period (the Working Timetable is also on the transparency section of the TfL website) would enable the average load / train to be calculated, although I would expect Fast Aldgate trains to be busier than Baker Street All Stations, but the data is not disaggregated...
I will not attempt to provide any statistical response other than to say southbound trains at that timeframe during normal weekdays are fairly hectic most times. How do I know? Well I used to se how full they were when trying to board stopping trains at Wembley Park for more years than I care to recall. By having fewer seats and with continuous car to car connections, the new trains do seem to accommodate almost any number of passengers and far more than the curiously lamented A stock never did. Once people were jammed across the doorways on an A stock there was no real way for anyone else to board. By comparison the new trains seem to be elastic or at least encourage people to shuffle along inside to occupy any less cramped spaces far better than before.
I guess the consequences of commuting underlie your other questions. Inherently do not expect a seat at those times of day unless you are lucky enough to board a trip with empty stock being turned or entering service at Harrow. As for Finchley Road the Jubilee has its own dedicated tracks and effectively operates independently. Gone are the days when platform staff would hold services on both lines to allow cross platform connections. If trains arrive together and people have time to dash from one to the other, so be it, but that is just luck. Both lines operate fairly intense services in the peak so if you just miss a connection you won't be waiting long. Save for some external disaster such as power or signalling failures problems on the Jubilee should not impact on the Met directly.
Post by norbitonflyer on Jan 24, 2018 17:07:53 GMT
If you can afford the time it may be easier to change to the Jubilee at Wembley Park - the Jubilee trains are less likely to be completely full there. (Indeed if you are having to let two or three Jubilee trains go at Finchley Road changing at Wembley might actually be quicker)
As alpinejohn, has elegantly put. Your journey will mean passing through Harrow at the busiest time of the day for the Southbound direction.
The station layout is not the most forgiving regarding crowd spacing and so moving down the platform (to the astonishment of many stubborn creatures of habit) does mean you won't get caught up in the cluster by the Next Train indicators and the stairs which is as much of bain to get up as to come down. Even with step free access coming to the station in 2019, the new lifts will do nothing to solve the issues of crowding.
If you have to wait more that 3-4mins for a 'Fast' or 'Semi-fast' service at Harrow then the time you save not stopping at Northwick Park, Preston Road and Wembley Park is negated regardless. Fast and Semi-fast services will inevitably be much busier if an 'All stations' service has pulled up at the same time. Depends whether you want to add 3-4 mins for a seat or play sardines on the 90 second savers.
Train frequencies will change somewhat with the onset of resignalling post 2022 and it remains to be seen whether this will help ease the burden of crowding on the platforms. But with the increasing commuting population of London and no plans to expand the layout of a station that last saw major rebuilding in the 1940's, it's overcrowding may become something of an issue very soon.
Child of Middlesex, student of the City, resident of the Metropolitan
I do the a journey that is the reverse of your proposed journey. Daily, I 'commute' from the south end of the Victoria line, out to Harrow on the Hill in the morning, and back into town in the evening peak. As such, I do not travel on the trains that you'd be using, but I do see what goes on in the other direction. My basic assessment is that when things are running well, the trains would be very busy but you'd not often be left waiting too often. That said, it's probably worth taking the firs train you can get on, whatever.
When there are problems south of Harrow (including the north side of the Circle), then the southbound Met service has to be thinned out. When this is in force a large proportion of trains (half?) terminate at Harrow and things for you would get very much more 'interesting' for you.
You indicate that you'd be continuing your journey into town. The cross platform interchange at Finchley road looks quite busy around that time, but some Jubs will have only started a station or three up the line and should have more capacity. You also have the option of travelling on to Baker Street and catching the Jubilee or Bakerloo there (or indeed Circle/H&C). So lots of options. Use a mobile phone app on the approach to Finchley road and decide whether to stick with 'Plan A', or stay on the met, (and what your onward path would be from Baker St). Those multiple routes forward give a lot of resilience in my journeys.
Thinking about Harrow again. You have options there as well - just not as obvious. The Bakerloo/Overground is accessible via Harrow and Wealdstone or Kenton stations - lengthy but manageable walks - I've done both (I can't say how busy those trains are in the peak). Again use that mobile app before yo leave out to decide which line to use.
From Harrow, Chiltern trains run to Marylebone, but are busy at the best of times in the peak, so if the met is stressed, you'd be climbing on the roof (good luck in the tunnels approaching Marylebone!). However from Marylebone, you have the Bakerloo, or a very short off station interchange to Baker Street.
One final option when everything else has failed at Harrow, is to travel out to Rayners Lane and back in on the Picc... (slow and busy)
A few timings - With peak Fast/Semi fast - not worth it if you need to wait three mins or more. Jubilee to/from Wembley costs five minutes, but can be worth it in disruptions. Jubilee vs met between Baker Street and Finchley road are about even (but the change at Baker street will take more time).
Very occasionally when things go wrong at Harrow, they go Very wrong. Yesterday morning (23 Jan), The southbound service was being thinned, the Southbound platforms were rammed solid, right up the stairs, along through the gateline, and packing the concourse right the way to the stars towards College road. It took me several minutes to work agains the tide just to get out of the station against the flow.
Unfortunately unless there is service disruption at those times there aren't any trains entering service at Harrow on the Hill, so it is likely to be busy when you try to board. If you want a seat picking up the Bakerloo from Harrow & Wealdstone where the train starts or at Kenton, which is a 5 minute walk from Northwick Park on the Met might be a better bet. Alternatively can you not vary your start time at work? By starting later - say 9.30, you'd miss the worst of the peak and probably have a seat. Getting back in the evening I would strongly suggest changing at Baker Street and joining a Baker Street starter - usually an all stations Watford. Watch out for Wembley events - either concerts or football matches, both the Jub and Met timetables are altered for these, and they can pften wreek havoc with what you thought would be a quieter off peak service. Finally be aware that due to ongoing weekday night engineering works between Finchley Road and Baker Street on the Met - Monday to Wednesday nights have an earlier finish for trains south of Wembley Park, and you'd have to take Jub to meet the Met. I think this work will finish later this year.